Because of changes in climate, people across Myanmar are facing greater variability in rainfall and more frequent and intense extreme weather events. Historical trends and future projections show that these challenges will continue in the future, varying by region and depending on global greenhouse gas emissions levels. If they do, the country’s natural capital will be affected. Water supplies, for example, will become less reliable, and flooding will worsen.
Keeping forests, including coastal mangroves, healthy so they continue to provide important benefits to people and wildlife is critical to Myanmar’s climate resilience.
Cyclone Nargis in 2008 and extreme heat waves in 2010 are partly why Myanmar was ranked second out of 183 countries most affected by extreme weather events between 1995 and 2014.
Sea level rise projections show how vulnerable the country will be to such storms, with projected increases in the coming decades likely to inundate areas much farther inland during future typhoons and damaging coastal storms.
National warming trends accelerate mid-century, raising average temperatures by 1.3-2.7°C to 24.8-26.2°C in 2041-2070.
Regional differences are more obvious after 2040; by 2041-2070, temperatures in inland areas are projected to warm 0.3-0.4°C more than coastal ones.
Eastern and Northern Hilly regions are likely to see the most dramatic warming among all regions of Myanmar, with hot season average temperatures rising by up to 3°C.
1980 - 2010 Historical Trends
Observed historical data show warming trends over the last 30 years, particularly in inland regions and for daily maximum temperatures.
Trends in daily average (top row) and daily maximum (bottom row) temperature on average across 9 inland (orange) and 10 coastal (blue) weather stations, 1981-2010.
Precipitation patterns across Myanmar are projected to change over the coming century. However, spatial and seasonal patterns in precipitation projections are less clear than temperature patterns.
Current wet season months (June to October) are projected to get wetter: total precipitation is expected to increase by 2-12% by 2011-2040 and by 6-27% by 2041-2070
It is uncertain whether cool (November-January) and hot season (February-May) precipitation will increase or decrease.
1980 - 2010 Historical Trends
Observed historical data show weter trends over the last 30 years, particularly in coastal regions and for annual precipitation.
Trends in total precipitation annually (left) and seasonally (center and right) for 10 coastal (blue) and 9 inland (orange) weather stations, 1981-2010.
Given the large expanses of low-lying areas in Myanmar, projections point to large increases in areas inundated, as well as large increases in the frequency and magnitude of flooding for those coastal areas not permanently inundated.
This has major ramifications for coastal ecosystems and communities, including Myanmar’s extensive coastal mangrove systems and the numerous highly vulnerable communities that depend on these systems and their services—food and fisheries—for livelihoods.